For over 100 years people have used the Alexander technique to overcome pain by learning to recognise, understand and avoid poor habits affecting postural tone and neuromuscular coordination. Reduced stiffness and improved coordination and balance are commonly reported by students after lessons, as is a more poised head balance with reduced muscular tension in the neck.
A clinical trial published in the British Medical Journal showed that Alexander Technique lessons provide long term benefit for chronic back pain sufferers. Of all the approaches tested, 24 Alexander lessons, at least half taken within the first three months of the trial, proved to be the most beneficial. Significantly, however, a series of six lessons followed by GP-prescribed exercise was about 70% as effective as 24 Alexander lessons alone. You can get more information on the trial, which includes a short video by following the link :
A new, large, randomised controlled clinical trial of Alexander technique lessons, or acupuncture, both compared to usual GP care, is to start soon for people with chronic neck pain. The trial is being conducted by the University of York and is being funded by Arthritis Research UK.
The Alexander technique has also been shown to be effective in areas such as Parkinson’s – associated disability, breathing, and balance, especially in the elderly.
If you hold private health insurance, it may be worth enquiring whether your policy will cover Alexander Technique lessons. Some companies will reimburse the cost of a course of lessons when taken to address specific health problems (in these cases, sometimes the recommendation of a consultant or other healthcare professional is required).